Youths in Orin Ekiti, Ido/Osi local government area of Ekiti State on Wednesday trooped out to protest an alleged attempt by suspected herdsmen to forcefully take over their lands.
The protesters, comprising old and young, men and women, carrying placards with calls for help against the suspected invaders, the protesters lamented that the suspected herdsmen destroyed crops worth over N50 million in farms belonging to 70 farmers.
They also alleged that one person, Mr. Emmanuel Ilori was allegedly killed by the suspected herders while the Benue farmers in the town were chased away.
Speaking to journalists on the development, the Onikare of Orin Ekiti, Chief Bamidele Fasuyi, alleged that the herders, had occupied and destroyed crops planted on the abandoned 2500 acres of land at Orin Farm settlement.
“What they want is to invade our land and chase us away. They even killed one of our able-bodied men this year. They are imposing some sort of curfew in this town because our youths can’t go to farm freely and the government has not anything. Several hectares of land has been destroyed. They used to operate at night with AK 47 rifle’’.
“Over 70 farmers were affected in our record. Crops worth 50 million have been ravaged. They ate up farm produce like Cocoayam, yam, cassava and others and made them to incur debts’’.
“We appeal to the government to use the 2500 acres of land for farming. The state and federal government as well as private bodies should come to our aid. There were facilities like electricity, buildings and equipment that can aid farming if they want to invest “.
A youth leader, Mr. Omotoso Mathew Kayode, alleged that the suspected herders, had hoisted a flag at the farm settlement, where they warned the farmers to keep off or face death.
“They wrote keep off with a picture of a cattle rearer on the flag. This is a serious threat. The police, NSCDC and soldiers removed the flag last year, but they had hoisted another one.
“We are not compromising our stand on this relocation. Chief Obafemi Awolowo-led government in the old Western region acquired the land in 1958 for arable farming and not for ranching”.
Omotoso appealed to Fayemi to compensate the farmers, for them not to abandon farming outrightly.
The Oniwaro of Orin, Chief Mathew Oke, said Fayemi should comply with his promise to build a police station in the town and rejuvenate the farm settlement to ward off herdsmen invasion in the area.